1 Timothy 4:12 “Do not be ashamed because you are young.”
The following is written by Cassandra Tartter, IGNITE alumni & Costa Rica overseer
In the past year, God has been doing an incredible thing in raising up the youth of Calvary Chapel, Villarreal, Costa Rica. You might ask, “What does that have to do with Potter’s Field Ministries? The answer is, “So, so, much.” As God continued to work in Villarreal, the PFK program began to grow, and started to look like complete insanity with 40 kids and only three leaders all trying to cook, teach, play, and keep control. We were desperately asking Jesus to raise people up, to keep up with His growth. We knew that our God would be faithful to answer our prayer, because He wants to reach the children here and show them His love. But, the way in which He answered our prayer, was not at all what we were expecting.
In July of 2015, we held a Vacation Bible School (VBS) with over 150 children. We had announced to the adults many times the opportunity to come alongside of us and the mission team to make this VBS possible. We happened to randomly announce it to our Youth Group, only one time, a week before the VBS took place. To our surprise, Monday came and there were about 10 youth at our preparation meeting, wanting to serve. We were overjoyed! But, God surprised us even more when they came up to us after VBS and asked if they could became part of Potter’s Field Kids (PFK), because they had loved serving in the VBS. God had answered our prayer.
We now have seven youth that are committed to being part of PFK. Four out of those seven are PFK graduates, and actually some of the first children ever enrolled in PFK Costa Rica. We call them our Bible Club Interns.
We meet each Monday afternoon for training in different areas of ministry such as puppets, dramas, reading/teaching the word, team building, and more. As they continue to serve Jesus, we can see them being challenged both as individuals and as a team. It is amazing to watch them grow, little by little, as God transforms them. We can see them beginning to understand the true purpose of ministry: love. Without love, everything we do is in vain. With that, we are watching as they begin to open themselves up more and more to the children. They are building relationships with the kids, and as the children grow to love them, they begin to love the children.
Not only is God using the youth here in the church to accomplish His mission and to grow them into His disciples, but He is also using them in their high school. As their friends begin to invite them to parties or to hang out, their answer is always, “Sorry, I have to go to church.” When they are asked, “What is up with you and that church? It is like you live there!” their answer is the same, “Well, it is where I want to be, I love it there.” Being involved in ministry has opened a door for them to also witness to their friends about how God is changing their lives. How great is our God?
As they continue to grow, they are slowly being trained up for specific positions within the ministry (some have already completely been given a specific role). Our cook is 17-year-old Denis. The girls in charge of attendance and being trained in support letters are 14-year-old Belen and 18-year-old Katherine. 15-year-old Nazareth is in charge of crafts. Last, but not least, games are run by 14-year-old Sofia and 11-year-old Rebecca. Ivan, 17 years old, is our trusty floater and supports us wherever we need him.
God is raising up the youth to work in His ministry and to be His disciples. He is so faithful, no matter how little we have to offer. All He desires is that we give Him our all, just like the little boy who only had two fish and five loaves when there were 5,000 people (just counting men) to feed. Logically, God could do nothing with what the boy had to offer. Yet, in faith, the boy offered Jesus all that He had, and Jesus multiplied it beyond what anyone thought possible.
It is amazing to watch as God does the same things with these seven young adults. Many people said they had nothing to offer because they were too young and inexperienced. However, God is growing this ministry in Costa Rica, making it possible through the youth, as they offer all they have to Jesus. Our God is truly great.
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far with they go among so many?” – John 6:9 “They all ate and were satisfied.” – Mark 6:42